On Wednesday, November 10 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar that provided an overview of strategies for states seeking to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage when the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement ends. States will be resuming eligibility and enrollment activities for all enrollees in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and as part of their planning, states have an opportunity to retain coverage gains experienced over the pandemic period by taking steps to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep Medicaid/CHIP coverage, and those who are eligible for subsidized Marketplace coverage are transitioned and enrolled. Experts from Manatt Health and McKinsey & Company discussed how states can prepare now by deploying strategies to update enrollee contact information, and make other eligibility and enrollment technology changes to better serve their residents.
Following the expiration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE), states will resume normal eligibility and enrollment activities for all enrollees in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The volume of expected redetermination activity at the end of the PHE is unprecedented. This issue brief reviews state Medicaid/CHIP agency data and information technology (IT) system “table stakes”—strategies that will have the highest impact for states seeking to ensure that eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage when the PHE continuous coverage requirements end. If adopted, these strategies will also enable states to dramatically improve Medicaid/CHIP enrollment and coverage retention in the longer-term for people eligible for government subsidized health coverage.
At the end of the public health emergency (PHE), people currently enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are at risk of losing their coverage unless state Medicaid/CHIP agencies take steps to update enrollee mailing addresses and other contact information. This expert perspective examines the information technology system, policy, and operational strategies states can consider to update key enrollee contact information to ensure eligible enrollees are able to keep or transition to new affordable health coverage at the end of the PHE.
The Tracking Medicaid Enrollment Growth During COVID-19 Databook provides a comprehensive, detailed look at Medicaid enrollment trends to-date. Using Medicaid enrollment data from over 40 states, the Databook provides a comprehensive, detailed look at Medicaid enrollment trends from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic through January 2021. The Databook provides enrollment detail by state across four eligibility categories: expansion adults, children (including those enrolled in CHIP), non-expansion adults, and aged, blind, and disabled individuals. It also compares enrollment trends across expansion and non-expansion states. While variations in states reporting mean that the enrollment numbers in this report are not necessarily comparable across states (and should not be summed across states), the data reported do allow states and others to track enrollment trends. As a companion to the Databook, Manatt Health authored an Overview that summarizes key findings from an analysis of the Databook.
To help states respond to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have invoked their emergency powers to authorize temporary flexibilities in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Congress’s legislative relief packages have provided additional federal support for state Medicaid programs, subject to certain conditions. The timeframes for these emergency measures are summarized in the chart, including the effective dates and expiration timelines dictated by law or agency guidance. The chart also includes current end dates, which are subject to change as federal and state officials take actions to renew or terminate particular authorities.
On Wednesday, April 29 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar, State Strategies to Support Medicaid/CHIP Eligibility and Enrollment in Response to COVID-19. Many states are experiencing an increase in the volume of Medicaid applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. It is important for states to understand the policy and operational strategies they can use to ensure that people who are eligible for the Medicaid program can apply, enroll and start receiving benefits as quickly as possible. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health reviewed strategies states can use to manage and process an increased number of Medicaid applications, and the federal authorities that permit states to do so. Communications experts from GMMB reviewed strategies for messaging to new and existing enrollees. As a companion to this webinar, SHVS has also published a Medicaid COVID-19 Messaging toolkit.
As a condition of receiving enhanced federal funding under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), states are prohibited from terminating individuals enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18, 2020, or determined eligible on or after that date. These continuous coverage requirements run through the end of the month of the public health emergency (PHE), which was recently extended to October 22, 2020. Absent a further extension of the PHE, states have three months to implement a plan for unwinding the FCCRA continuous coverage requirements which are otherwise set to terminate on October 31, 2020. States will also need to identify which newly obtained eligibility and enrollment flexibilities they would like to make permanent beyond the termination of the PHE–especially in the context of emerging information that suggests that the duration of COVID-19 pandemic may extend well into 2021.
On Thursday, January 21 State Health and Value Strategies hosted a webinar on the long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. During the webinar experts from Manatt Health discussed the sub-regulatory guidance and the implications for states, in light of the recent public health emergency renewal by Secretary Azar. The webinar reviewed the expectations laid out in the guidance related to timelines, consumer communications, and fair hearing processes for redetermining Medicaid eligibility for those who have had their coverage continuously maintained as a condition of receiving the temporary 6.2 percent FMAP increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Additionally, presenters discussed the expected processes and timelines for terminating, or making permanent where allowable, temporary federal flexibilities that were obtained.
Medicaid enrollment has increased by over 10 million (or 15 percent) from February 2020 through February 2021 across all states since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. States have a clear imperative to center health equity as they plan for the end of the public health emergency (PHE) given that Black, Latino/a, and other people of color are most at risk of coverage loss. This expert perspective highlights strategies states can implement to ensure that the end of the PHE does not exacerbate already widespread racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system.
On December 22, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released long-awaited guidance to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies on resuming normal operations following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. This issue brief provides a high-level summary of the CMS guidance related to: (1) conducting redeterminations for Medicaid enrollees who were continuously enrolled; (2) terminating, or extending where appropriate, temporary flexibilities; and (3) developing a consumer and provider communication strategy.